Posted on August 20, 2010The vacation is a relatively modern invention.
Most historians will say it was invented in the early 19th century, when wealthy people “vacated” their homes and schools and went elsewhere, most likely to escape whatever hot weather they were dealing with.
The mountains and the beach back then were the best ways to beat the heat, especially if you lived in the Washington area. That still seems to be the case.
Middle class vacations are made possible by the modern industrial age. You can take a break if you don’t have to worry about subsistence living. You can also take a break if you can afford to take a break and not go bankrupt.
If you are a farmer or small shop owner, living on tight margins, it is hard to take any kind of break, especially back in the 19th century. Back then, only the wealthiest land owners and industrialists could afford to take a break, because only they could afford to leave the hard work to somebody else.
If you were poor, you weren’t going to take many vacations.
Today, many Americans are so stressed out by their daily lives that they don’t take extended vacations. They aren’t so sure if the work will still be there when they get back, so instead of taking a two week vacation, they take a three day vacation, and then they bring their blackberry or IPhone (or both) with them.
Hard to relax when you have an IPhone at your ear as you type away on your blackberry.
When I was young, my family took plenty of long vacations together. It was a good way for me to get sunburn, and for the whole family to spend some quality time together. Then, my parents got divorced, and well, the whole vacation thing seemed to go out the window.
Europeans are much better about taking vacations than we are. They take long ones and they do some cool traveling. These days, many Europeans travel to the U.S., because you can still find some good bargains here.
The Congress is on vacation for the rest of August, unless Nancy Pelosi calls the House back in to investigate the Mosque protestors or do some other stupid thing that will alienate the Democrats from the American people. It used to be Congress would take the whole summer off, because as you may or may not know, it gets pretty damn hot in Washington in the summer. And let’s not kid ourselves, Congress taking three months off is actually a pretty good deal for the taxpayer. Fewer opportunities for the politicians to screw everything up!
This is a very long way of saying that I am going on vacation next week, so I won’t be posting until I get back, which probably won’t be until the last week in August. Thanks for reading the Feehery Theory, and I hope you have a chance to take a break with your family.